I snooped around in the library catalog and sure enough my astute colleagues at the Austin Public Library have already added pertinent titles to the collection. I’ve listed a few below.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Federico Garcia Lorca – the pianist, poet, and playwright also sketched but only had one exhibit in Barcelona in 1929.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
This day in 1957 a poem fell victim. United States Customs officials seized 520 copies of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl on the basis of the poem’s alleged obscenity. A year and half earlier, Ginsberg’s reading of the poem in San Francisco served as the seminal moment for the Beat Generation. The obscenity trial hit the courtroom in October 1957. The charges were summarily dropped as numerous participating scholars and critics attested to the literary merits of Howl.
Howl, and Other Poems
Howl on Trial: The Battle for Free Expression
American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and the Making of the Beat Generation
Howl: Original Draft Facsimile, Transcript & Variant Versions, Fully Annotated by Author, with Contemporaneous Correspondence, Account of First Public Reading, Legal Skirmishes, Precursor Texts & Bibliography
Law Makers, Law Breakers, and Uncommon Trials
Tropic of Cancer
Monday, March 23, 2009
James Sallis is a crime fiction writer who many mystery fans have never heard of. It's been said that he can convey as much information in one sentence as most authors convey in a paragraph. James Sallis's books include ten novels, multiple collections of short stories, poems and essays, three volumes of musicology, and a biography of Chester Himes, another mystery writer. His new mystery, Salt River, is a poignant and surprising conclusion to his John Turner trilogy. The philosophical mystery follows ex-cop, ex-con, and war veteran Turner as he goes in search of a truth he's not sure he can live with. Salt River is one of the new titles that has been added to our Good Reads' Best Recent Mysteries.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Daniel Nettle, a biological psychologist and author of Happiness: The Science Behind Your Smile, writes that humans are notoriously bad at knowing what will make them happy, so the happiness “scientists” keep writing books to guide us in this pursuit. In The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World, Eric Weiner comes to the conclusion that happiness isn't about economics or geography. Jennifer Michael Hecht states that the basic modern assumptions about how to be happy are nonsense in The Happiness Myth: Why What We Think Is Right Is Wrong. In Stumbling on Happiness, Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert draws on philosophy and neuroscience to discuss where we go wrong in our pursuit of happiness. And, in Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy, Eric Wilson questions the whole idea of striving for happiness.
Other more recent examples of books on happiness include:
The How of Happiness Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth
Happiness Is an Inside Job
Be Happy Without Being Perfect
Happy for No Reason
Happy at Last: the Thinking Person's Guide to Finding Joy
Reordered Love, Reordered Lives : Learning the Deep Meaning of Happiness
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The group My Morning Jacket's latest CD has the very tuneful song "Librarian". Not many songs have the word periodical in the lyrics, so I have copied and pasted the beginning of the song for library fans:
walk across the courtyard, towards the library. i can hear the insects buzz and the leaves 'neath my feet... ramble up the stairwell, into the hall of books... since we got the interweb these hardly get used. duck into the men's room... combing through my hair... when god gave us mirrors he had no idea... looking for a lesson in the periodicals... there i spy you listening to the AM radio...
Your Library does not have the new cd Evil Urges yet, but we have other titles by this band, which has been referred to as the American Radiohead.
Okonokos : Double Live Album
It Still Moves
The Tennessee Fire
Monday, March 16, 2009
One of my favorite Library databases is the Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. I looked up chocolate; one point in the article stood out to me. Chocolate, apparently, has more than one hundred medicinal uses. "[A]nd the majority fall into three main categories: 1) to aid emaciated patients in gaining weight; 2) to stimulate the nervous systems of apathetic, exhausted, or feeble individuals; and 3) to improve digestion, stimulate the kidneys (diuretic), and improve bowel function." I, myself, use it to stimulate the exhausted nervous system all the time.
After checking out the database, I decided to wander around the cookbook section here at Central (the 640s for those of you who don't know). There are a lot of great looking books about chocolate. Check some of these out when you're at the Library, you will not be disappointed. In fact, if you make the Hot Fudge Pudding Cake in the Here in America's Test Kitchen cookbook from the editors of one of my favorite magazines, Cook's Illustrated, you will have so many friends that you'll have to make it on a regular basis. In fact, let me know when you make it so I can come over. (It's on page 318.)
Here's a nice list to get you started:
A Passion for Chocolate
Bake and Freeze Chocolate Desserts by Elinor Klivans
Death by Chocolate Cakes by Marcel Desaulniers
Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn (one of my favorite cookbook authors)
Chocolate Cake by Michele Urvater
A little bit of the back story:
The True History of Chocolate by Sophie D. and Michael D. Coe
The Chocolate Connoisseur by Chloe Doutre-Roussel
Chocolate A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light by Mort Rosenblum
And, just in case you think you shouldn't, Suzanne Somers says it's okay:
Somersize Chocolate 30 Delicious, Guilt-Free Recipes for the Carb-Conscious Chocolate Lover
Have a chocolate-y week! I know I will.
(photo from FreeFoto.)
Thursday, March 12, 2009
The movie’s animator, director, and writer Hayao Miyazaki infuses environmental themes as well as Japanese folklore and mythology into several of his hugely successful films. He is a well-respected artist who insisted on hand coloring frames long after most animators had turned to computers. His attention to detail and high standards led Miyazaki to found his own production company Studio Ghibli with fellow animator Isao Takahata. This gave him the freedom to create the quality films for which he is known.
Come by the Howson Branch to experience the Studio Ghibli movies on the big screen or check them out to watch at home. We also have the graphic novels!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
What it lacks in history, it makes up for with rapidly growing prestige and financial might. Having only awarded its first winner in 2004, the Story Prize has quickly garnered a solid reputation in the literary world. The $20,000 prize—awarded annually to a short story collection—is the richest award in America for a single book. Other literary awards relish the pomp and circumstance of the awards ceremony. The Story Prize takes another—and refreshingly welcomed—approach. The finalists share the stage, reading stories, and discussing their work from sofas, and await the announcement. This intimate arrangement dovetails nicely with the unique experience of reading a short story. The 2008 winner was awarded March 4, 2009. The winner is Tobias Wolff’s Our Story Begins.
Our Story Begins (Tobias Wolff)
Unaccustomed Earth (Jhumpa Lahiri)
Demons in the Spring (Joe Meno)
2007: Like You’d Understand, Anyway (Jim Shepard)
2006: The Stories of Mary Gordon (Mary Gordon)
2005: The Hill Road (Patrick O’Keeffe)
2004: The Dew Breaker (Edwidge Danticat)
Monday, March 09, 2009
Friday, March 06, 2009
Most readers in the US know very few Australian writers, but there are lots worth searching out. Peter Carey is probably the most well-known. I really enjoy reading Carey because both the language and plot in his books are amazing. I have recommended Peter Temple’s mystery The Broken Shore to friends, and they have all liked it.
His Illegal Self
A mother-son relationship is set against the protest movements of the 1960s and 1970s and offers a realistic portrait of the era. Don’t you want to know what Australian hippies in the Australian Outback were like?
Theft: a Love Story
Michael "Butcher" Boone is an ex-“really famous" painter, now reduced to living in a remote country house and acting as caretaker for his younger brother, Hugh, who, like Butcher, has a primarily pugilistic relationship with the world. It’s a book about a close sibling relationship and the international art world.
The Broken Shore
In Temple's beautifully written eighth crime novel, Joe Cashin, a city homicide cop recovering from an injury, returns to the quiet coastal area of South Australia where he grew up. There he investigates the beating death of an elderly millionaire.
Fraction of the Whole
Humorous story reflects on the travels of a father and son from the Australian bush to the cafes of bohemian Paris, from the Thai jungle to strip clubs, asylums, labyrinths, and criminal lairs, and from the highs of first love to the lows of failed ambition.
Latest book by Australia's favorite author, an extraordinary evocation of an adolescence spent resisting complacency, testing one’s limits against nature, finding like-minded souls, and discovering just how far one breath will take you. Winton is a surfer and a naturalist, and his descriptions of surfing seem almost mystical.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
I was personally rooting for Ledger to win the Oscar and when I found out that Finch was one of the other posthumous winners, I was floored. In fact, just the night before I had watched Network for the first time. I knew nothing about the movie other than my boyfriend once saw the first half of it and thought we might enjoy it. The movie stars Robert Duvall, Peter Finch, and Faye Duanaway and it completely blew me away. The plot and characters were well developed, Peter Finch gave a superb performance, and it included one of the most arresting and emotional scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie (the title of this blog post is a quote from that scene). Not only that, but the movie also provided a biting commentary on the state of television and television news and the power TV has over American life. The themes in this movie have led me on a whole other pursuit exploring books with similar themes: television’s influence over America, the changes in television news programs intended to garner ratings, the corporate takeover of television, etc. Of course, the Austin Public Library has the books you and I need for this educational pursuit and practically any other:
Encyclopedia Britannica Database
(requires an Austin Public Library card)
To get to the Oscar spotlight mentioned above, log in with your library card number, scroll down toward the bottom of the page where it says "Featured Spotlight" and click on "Spotlight Archive". Choose "All About Oscar" from the list.
Monday, March 02, 2009
When I was a kid, I got on this “famous autograph” kick and one of my prized autographs was Mr. Geisels'. It is a piece of paper with a picture of the Cat in the Hat, a personal note and Dr. Seuss' signature, all in blue crayon. It is one of my most cherished items. I don’t know if it’s real or not, heck, anyone could have written it, but I like to think the man himself did.
In our house today, Dr. Seuss is very popular. One of our current favorites is Hop on Pop, lots of great rhyming words and cute pictures. We also enjoy the perennial favorite, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book?
One thing I recently discovered about Dr. Seuss is that he also wrote books under the name Theo. LeSieg. LeSieg is Geisel spelled backwards. He wrote these books and others illustrated them. Did you know that? Something else I learned is that Dr. Seuss was not a doctor. He went to Oxford intent on earning a PhD in literature. However, his future wife and Oxford student, Helen Palmer and his tutor, Dr. A. J. Carlyle both agreed that he was not suited to become a professor, but should fetter out his life as an illustrator and writer.
We’re glad he did. Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!
A few books about Dr. Seuss and his life:
The Boy on Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel grew up to become Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss: American Icon
Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel: a biography
You can also search the catalog for all of his books!
(photo from the Life Photo Archive. Facts from Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel: a biography.)